He placed his grand, ancient, calloused hands over the polished ebony and ivory coloured keys and imitated playing, murmuring the tune under his breath.
His body came to a halt as he took a deep breath, laying his hands on the keys he began to play, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.14 in C, his most favoured piece. As he hit each note with precision, I watched as the notes singularly tore at his soft face, the beautiful melodic piece that danced on the curve of my own ear, was but white noise to him, a lost beauty in the new silent world.
He halted, bowing his head to the piano, a broken man before me, my eyes reflected the vulnerable tears on his own cheek. I pressed at my lip to stop from making my presence known, for a moment I had forgot the cause of the scene before me. Again he moved his hands to return to his life’s work, his passion, but found himself unable. He would never again hear the graceful melody of his music resonate in the great hall. I knew this as he dug his nails into his palms, withdrawing his touch completely from the grand instrument. His usual calm, peaceful manor changed abruptly as he seized the lid of the piano, slamming it down with furious frustration and torment, I was seized by the sudden change in my grandfather.
The hairs on the back of my neck bristled as a strange chill moved over me. He rose quickly, pushing the stool away, in such haste that it slid across the smooth floor, stopping just short of the staircase. Stepping swiftly over to the large oak doors, every step echoing loudly in the hollow room, reaching the doors he pulled them violently open and paced through the exit, all feebleness lost in his exquisite aching.
After some time, I moved from the balcony to the staircase, my decent slow and mournful, gripping the oak banister for support. My slow steps resonated in the empty space as my heels tapped the floor, the warm room seemed so cold now, as I took a seat at the piano and opened the lid. I wrapped my soft shawl around me in hope of comfort, as a small child may hide beneath their quilted guard when fear strikes them, though I found no warmth, the chill I felt was not of the room, but of his sorrows making.
The Piano was not an instrument I had taken to naturally as a student, but he and myself had spent hours upon hours, years upon years, getting me to a reputable standard. As I closed the small distance between the tips of my fingers and the keys, I began to stroke the soft notes, bringing an amateur conclusion to the piece that he would not, I closed my eyes, and wept warm salted tears, as the sonata broke the silence.